Blake Shelton Has Helped Country's "Old Farts" More Than They Seem to Know

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Courtesy of Warner Brothers Nashville
Hey, Old Farts. You're Welcome.
"Can't they just shut up?"

That's the question many country music fans proffer when musicians publicly express opinions that dare venture outside of benign Q&A quicksand and into the murky waters of relevant social issues.

Country consumers from both sides of the political aisle can get riled up in these instances. It's not just the left-wingers griping about Toby Keith's need to fill the asses of terrorists with red, white and blue boots, nor is it only the right-wingers who still are unable to forgive Natalie Maines for Bush-bashing on foreign soil.

Recently, a specific sect of fans felt their tighty-whities twist when a prominent contemporary artist went rogue while discussing his musical offerings in a manner that offended them. Sticks and stones still break bones, but name-calling has evidently gained a great deal of destructive power.

A slight storm of controversy has surrounded television personality -- sorry, I mean, country artist -- Blake Shelton since the December airing of an episode of cable network GAC-TV's Backstory devoted to the "Ol' Red" and "Sure Be Cool If You Did" singer.

During the show, when asked about the changing landscape of country music over its history, Shelton willingly proclaimed, "Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa's music.

"And I don't care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, 'My God, that ain't country!' added Shelton. "Well, that's because you don't buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don't want to buy the music you were buying."

Personally, as a fan of a great deal of the country artists my parents and grandparents enjoyed (many choice, vintage vinyl LPs reside in my collection as a result of my grandmother's passing them down to me), I tend to bristle a tad myself at Shelton's massive blanket of condescension.

But it doesn't take an economics professor or a pedigreed musical historian to see the general truth in Shelton's remarks, abrasive as they were. It wasn't that long ago that Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle were "ruining real country music" with their overly shiny and velvety songs, after all. The debate over what is and isn't "real country" is futile, and serves to narrow the wonderfully large scope that country music should count as an asset.

In predictable fashion, just as allegedly patriotic radio stations did when they used steamrollers to destroy Dixie Chicks albums a decade ago, random groups are popping out of the woodwork to rail against Shelton. Oddly enough, it's happening months after he made those comments and subsequently apologized, and he has even received the support and forgiveness of a number of country legends such as Merle Haggard.

Now, in a desperate attempt to get some unearned shine, this past Friday Bob Everheart of the National Traditional Country Music Association announced the manner in which his organization will, finally, let Shelton have it good. On April 17, a multi-organizational march is scheduled to take place in Nashville to have Shelton's membership in the Grand Ole Opry revoked.



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10 comments
ynotryme
ynotryme

being popular doesn't mean you are good, see any boy band.

CountrySunshine
CountrySunshine

"But it doesn't take an economics professor or a pedigreed musical historian to see the general truth in Shelton's remarks, abrasive as they were. It wasn't that long ago that Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle were "ruining real country music" with their overly shiny and velvety songs, after all. The debate over what is and isn't "real country" is futile, and serves to narrow the wonderfully large scope that country music should count as an asset.

In predictable fashion, just as allegedly patriotic radio stations did when they used steamrollers to destroy Dixie Chicks albums a decade ago, random groups are popping out of the woodwork to rail against Shelton. Oddly enough, it's happening months after he made those comments and subsequently apologized, and he has even received the support and forgiveness of a number of country legends such as Merle Haggard."


Ok I can debunk "the general truth" in Blake's comments. I'm 13 years younger than Blake (I looked it up). Yup, the ripe old age of 23 (wanna see my license, lol?) I've been buying and receiving music for a solid 20 years now. MY most recent musical purchase? Kitty Wells' Dust On The Bible. Only "newer artists" in my collection? Kellie Pickler's 100 Proof,  2 Josh Turner CDs, 2 Gretchen Wilson CDs, the Dixie Chicks' catalog, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Travis Tritt,  & Brooks & Dunn's Greatest Hits. With the exception of some Elvis & Beach Boys the entirety of my music is COUNTRY MUSIC from the '50s & '60s. DEBUNKED. 

The "debate" is not futile. Either it's Country or it isn't. When I have children one day they probably won't be lucky enough to live in a world with George Jones, Loretta Lynn, and the Country Legends that were still kicking when I was a kid. TNN's not around anymore like it was when I was little, and there are no new singers who have made it to major stardom like AJ & The Chicks to carry the torch. I want them to know the Country Music that's as apart of me and my blood. It's not futile to try and keep the greatest music in the world alive.

Let us not forget the scale at which Shelton's being criticized is (unfortunately) not even close to how the Chick's were done wrong. There is a lot of reasoning as to what one group of people are trying to have done to Shelton, there was none (or very little) to what happened to the Dixie Chicks. What isn't mentioned in this article is that as well as his derogatory comments, Blake Shelton disrespected the highest and most coveted honor in all of Country Music. For some ridiculous reason the Opry's new management opted to make him a member (diminishing the meaning of the membership greatly). Part of the deal when you're made a member is you have to play so many shows a year ("no matter where you were Friday night" - Charlie Dick) to maintain membership. When Patsy Cline, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, etc were in their primes, it was 26 shows a year (& keep in mind most trips weren't made by plane, much less on private lear jets). It's less than half that now at no more than 12. Guess how many good ol Blake played in 2012? ZERO! Hank Williams was kicked out for less!

I don't think Merle Haggard "forgiving" Blake (for something he wasn't even qualified to forgive him for since BS made it clear when The Cherokee Cowboy called him out that it was a jab at the FANS and the music (he made), not at him) is "SUPPORT". And exactly what other "Country Legends" support him?


"If Dwight Yoakam, still the king of country cool, had made this type of statement, then sure, there's an issue to be dissected, if only to a point. If the timelessly talented Patty Loveless claimed to a reporter that Doc Watson didn't know Bluegrass from Black metal, then again, let the fans of the offended genre get all sorts of (more or less rightfully) indignant. Such a reaction would be justifiable within this framework, because the fight would be against someone who's long been on the side of the group being attacked, theoretically."

So just because Dwight and Patty ARE truly Country, if they had said what Blake did it would warrant people to be mad? But since Blake isn't real Country it's okay? As long that SOB and this peers are being nominated at the CMAs, ACMs, & Grammy Country categories (not to mention winning), being played on COUNTRY radio, being played on CMT & GAC, being billed as "Country star...............", and PLAYING THE OPRY this will be totally justifiable, if not more so.


"Good luck with all of that. One of the many ways this tantrum is comical is that the Opry has recently awarded membership to modern country artists few would consider "traditional" in any sense. Keith Urban, Darius Rucker (a.k.a. Hootie), Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts are some of the newest members of the Opry. Surely, each of these mod-members can belt out "For the Good Times," but none of them scream "Old-School Glory," either."

I agree, not one of the recent members are "traditional", nor are they COUNTRY for that matter. When you say they can "belt out For the Good Times" I assume you mean they know the words, because they certainly couldn't SING it.

"The announcement of an April protest from Everheart and his band of old farts is not only tardy, but lame in its approach to connect itself with a story that's bigger than his group could ever hope to be."          

I agree, this should have been announced last month even if it was in April. HOWEVER, "A story bigger than this group could ever hope to be". Honey, from what I've read this group is about Patsy Cline & Hank Williams. Loretta Lynn & George Jones. Faron Young & Kitty Wells. Ernest Tubb & Goldie Hill. Webb Pierce & Skeeter Davis. (Insert any Country Legend's name here or any star of varying degrees from Country's Golden Age here. Just one, ONE, of those names are "bigger than THIS story could ever be". This group is also about the fans of these people and this music who were it not for there would be no story, no music or people to insult, and certainly no faux "Country" singing wannabe badasses to run their mouths off. Remember that. Were it not for the people and music Blake Shelton insulted, he wouldn't have had a platform to insult from.


"I get it. No one likes being called names or being made fun of. No one likes being marginalized due to the type of music they enjoy the most. But given that members and proponents of any sort of Traditional Country Music association haven't likely spent years decorating their walls with Blake Shelton Fathead posters, any complaint from them is hollow at best, desperate at worst."                                                   "With that stated, had Shelton not said what he said -- if he had just "shut up" when pointing to the jackasses, then a lot of old farts out there wouldn't be receiving the attention they're getting now."                                               

"Desperate"?! I hardly think there is anyone (other than Blake) trying to get publicity from this. You underestimate Country Music fans love for their music. We've watched it die a slow death that has been expedited in recent years a la people like Mrs. Lambert, Swift, Mr. Kidman etc. But then for one of the culprits to turn around and insult the victims?!?! WTF

dermgerm
dermgerm

No attention is bad attention, I suppose. Blake Shelton does make a point that old style country won't sell today. But he's only really relevant and separable from the rest of the new, similar country artist by acting like a buttmunch in interviews and on twitter.

You'd think a SHELton would be more respectful of tortoises. (I went there, just accept it.)

rolling
rolling

Google "Protesting the Dixie Chicks", It's an interesting film concerning this kind of ideology.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Bottom line is this generations music sucks no matter what the genre. The talentless get the record deals while the ones that deserve them go unnoticed.

Joe Pinney
Joe Pinney

Oh, he already apologized for his (admittedly) abrasive remarks? And some folks still can't let it go? *smh* Hell, mad as I was at Metallica for first cutting their hair and then the Napster BS, I still occasionally listen to their music. In the final analysis, all that really matters is the music. Everyone's got opinions, sociopolitical and otherwise, and everyone has real lives, but the music is what counts here. Always has, always will.

Carlos Ignacio M
Carlos Ignacio M

Country Music will always remain and be part of our Country.

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

Its like picking Bieber in the Justin Vs. The Beatles argument.

CountrySunshine
CountrySunshine

@rolling WRONG. Protesting, threatening, & destroying the Dixie Chick's for insulting one of the most unpopular Presidents in history (especially when they were one of the most talented and few Country singers making COUNTRY music) who made a very controversial decision which by most political analysts' opinions in hindsight was a disaster based on lies is not the same. A musical group insulted a politician, not one of their "own" who did nothing to deserve the criticism and insults. It's especially important to note the already tense situation & contention over the stuff Nashville's turning out and calling Country today VS REAL Country Music, "The Golden Age", it's artists & fans, and the contemporary people carrying the torch  (Alan Jackson, George Strait, THE DIXIE CHICKS, Josh Turner, etc). Fans of Country Music (when I say COUNTRY Music, I mean legitimate, authentic Country....not BS, Taylor Swift, Urban, Underwood, etc) have been angry for years that their music has essentially been murdered & it's identity stolen. Liken it to a loved one being murdered, their murderer assuming their identity, and the general public believing it's really them. It's frustrating and heartbreaking. But then for one of the "murderers" to have the gall to insult the victims it's preposterous and infuriating. Genre's and what is and isn't Country aside, these people are nowhere near as talented in general.

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